In search of lost time
WHEN Eileen Bowmaker set eyes on her brother Terry Kendall for the first time in her 79 years, she was overcome with emotion.
"He has my mother's eyes and my mother's nose, and there were a couple of times when I had to look away," she said.
"I felt I was looking at my mother."
Eileen's mother passed away in 1968 and took with her a secret she had kept all her life.
She left home to work in a munitions factory in Lithgow during the war years and had two sons, the first in 1945 and the second in 1946, giving both up for adoption.
She never told a soul.
It came as quite a shock for Ms Bowmaker to receive a letter from her brother's son, Adam, in 2011 asking her if she knew or was related to Betty Bailey, her mother.
Terry began the search for his mother several years ago and discovered he had a brother, Kelvin, although he never found any trace of his mum.
Terry's son Adam continued the search for his biological grandmother and ended up contacting Eileen.
"I rang Adam and told him that yes, she was my mother, and then (my brother and I) talked on the phone a few times," she said.
"This was a bigger shock to me than it was to them, because they knew they were adopted. I had no idea I had two brothers, none at all.
"You just don't believe that your mother could hide something like that from you. How could you?"
Eileen met Terry for the first time last month.
Terry and his wife Sue flew up to the Whitsundays and stayed at Airlie Beach for a weekend so the siblings could catch up on seven decades of lost time.
"We spent all day talking - and all day Sunday and Monday," she said.
Ms Bowmaker now hopes to meet her other long-lost brother, Kelvin, and has arranged to meet up with Terry again later this year.
"All of it really was very emotional," Ms Bowmaker said.
"There was certainly a little bit of water coming out of our eyes.
"It's quite emotional to see someone that you didn't know existed."